Picture a Japanese dessert in your head. If you have one in mind already, what flavor does it come in? Chances are, it’s matcha-flavored. It comes as no surprise because matcha is synonymous to Japanese desserts here in Manila, especially since it became such a popular trend in the local foodie scene.
But for those who are in the mood for something different or if you happen to be sick of matcha already (gasp!), there is more to Japanese desserts than this particular green tea flavor. Sadly, they aren’t always easy to find in menus of Japanese restaurants, which is why we’d really, really love to see more of them here in Manila!
Yuzu is a kind of citrus whose tart flavor is like a combination of grapefruit and mandarin orange. Though it is rarely eaten on its own, yuzu is very common in Japanese cuisine since its rind and juice are used in sweet and even savory dishes.
Where to find Yuzu desserts in the metro
Savory dishes featuring yuzu are much easier to find here in Manila compared to yuzu-flavored desserts. If you find yourself in or near Visayas Avenue, make your way to Hamaru and try its Apple Yuzu Sorbet!
If you don’t mind counting a float as a drink and a dessert at the same time, you can count on Farmacy’s Yuzu Float to help beat the Metro Manila heat. The Yuzu Float is made up of Yuzu ice cream and orange soda.
Although Tsujiri is known for all things matcha, its menu offerings also include other Japanese dessert flavors like yuzu! The Yuzu Citron Float pairs the citrus with either matcha or vanilla soft serve ice cream. In her looloo review Midz S. describes it having “the perfect balance of sweet and citrus.”
Many of us dream of going to Japan during the Cherry Blossom season to see and take Instagram-worthy photos of these beautiful flowers. But did you know that they’re edible too?
Probably the most popular flavor on the list, the Cherry Blossom (otherwise known as Sakura) is the flower of the Japanese Cherry tree. As mentioned, these flowers, as well as their leaves, are edible and are used in Japanese cuisine. The Sakura, in particular, are commonly used as an ingredient for the Wagashi, a type of sweets made from mochi, and Anpan, a sweet roll.
Where to find Sakura desserts in the metro
Ever since we were introduced to mochi all those years ago, it has become one of our favorite Japanese food. Mochicream Cafe, in particular, is the go-to place if you want to lose yourself in different flavors of mochi. Combine two Japanese favorites into one yummy sweet treat by ordering the Sakura-flavored mochi!
Despite what some people might think, Cherry Blossoms aren’t exclusive to Japan and can be found in countries such as the United States, China, Korea, Canada, and even Iran and India! So don’t be surprised if you find a Sakura-flavored dessert in a non-Japanese restaurant. Take The Dessert Kitchen as an example. Originally from Hong Kong, this dessert place is where you can find the Sakura Warabi (otherwise known as Raindrop Cake).
3. Black Sesame
Sesame is a widely used ingredient in a variety of Asian cuisines. When it comes to Japanese cuisine, however, there is a particular kind of sesame popularly associated with it: the black sesame. Black sesame is commonly roasted prior to being used in a variety of savory and sweet dishes, which gives it the woodsy, nutty flavor that we associate with it.
Where to find Black Sesame desserts in the metro
If you’ve tasted black sesame in desserts before, chances are it’s through an ice cream. Many artisanal ice cream brands care the black sesame flavor these days and one of which is Dojo Japanese Ice Cream! In her looloo review, Julie J. says she loves how Dojo’s black sesame ice cream isn’t too sweet as well as the toasted black sesame mixed into the ice cream!
Craving for a cookie? Why not try Scout’s Honor’s Matcha Sesame Cookie? It has roasted black sesame cream sandwiched between two matcha cookies!
Kinako is the Japanese term for roasted soybean flour, which is made by grinding the beans into a fine powder. Different mochi-type sweets such as the Wagashi and Dango (Japanese dumplings) are usually coated with kinako.
Where to find Kinako desserts in the metro
Zaan Japanese Tea House stays true to tradition and serves its different Wagashi (such as the Shiratama Kinako and Yasuhatchi) coated in kinako. In his looloo review, Dennis O. said that he loved the Crystal Warabimochi (raindrop crystal jelly) and likened the flavors to Korea’s injeolme bingsu.
Another place that sticks to tradition when it comes to the use of kinako is Kissako Uji Matcha Cafe! Order the Kinako Dango, which are sweet soy flour dumplings served on sticks for that authentic Japanese street food feeling!
Want to try kinako but not in the mood for powdery desserts? Then head to Botejyu and try out the Honey Toast with Brown Sugar Syrup and Creamy Kinako! Botejyu turns the kinako into a sauce that’s drizzled on top of two thick slices of toast and a scoop of ice cream!